STUMBLING ON THE KINGDOM
Most of our evangelism consists of trying to get people into church. Good as that is (I firmly believe that the church is Christ’s body, Christ’s bride, God’s family; therefore, flawed as the local church is, it makes no sense to say you love Jesus and God and not care about the church.) It’s not enough.
Jesus’ standing invitation is not to come to church but to enter the kingdom. Most churches are bricolages of all kinds of things more than they are panoramas of the kingdom come in power. They’re composed of shards of social agency, scraps of country club, skeins of gossip, and, scattered throughout, a handful of kingdom, unobtrusive as pieces of painted macaroni. Churches, even the best of them, contain the kingdom but can hardly be described as the fullness thereof.
And here’s the funny thing: most of the world looks roughly the same: a bit of this and a bit of that and, scattered throughout, the kingdom, quiet and unobtrusive, easily missed.
I suggest our evangelism remain inviting people to church. But I suggest we also include inviting people into the kingdom. And the great thing is, through your neighbor or co-worker may right now have zero interest in coming to your church, she may be stumbling around in the kingdom.
In my town, non-church people care about the homeless, single mothers, the high level of malnutrition and literacy among low-income families, the problem of gangs, the enduring legacy of racial animosity, and a hundred other things. I chaired a community committee recently that helped gather funds and create a vision to refit a school bus to take learning resources to Native reservations. As I write this, it’s at one of the most remote and impoverished reservations in the province.
God cares about all this. His kingdom of shalom speaks to all this.
What I’ve found is that an equally effective way to help people meet Jesus is to help them see that, though they haven’t been to church in year’s, they’ve been crisscrossing the kingdom on a daily basis.
Just as people can sit in church for months, maybe year’s, and miss Jesus, they can be in the kingdom for a long time and miss Him too.
Which is where you come in. You likely know a person or two who is not ready to come to your church. But they’re already brushing up against the kingdom. Maybe God put you beside them to help them find the King.
~ Darren’s Comments ~
Early on in my Christian crawl, walk, jog, or run (I have done all of these), when it seemed like I was on top of the spiritual world where I was enjoying God’s presence in my life i.e.spiritual running or sprinting or when I was down so low that it seemed like I was struggling i.e. crawl, I have always been perplexed at church people that act like hypocrites who act one way at church and another way at home, work, out with your friends, etc. Don’t they know they are going to give an account one day to God? No wonder why non-churched people don’t want to come to church.
Early on, I vowed not to be like that. But even to this day, throughout my teen life, college life where so many loose their faith, throughout my married life and then you add children to the mix, I still can not believe the hypocrisy of some church-going members who claim they are saved (even doing churchyard clean up, for example).
I still go to church religiously (pun intended) because I know that we are Christ’s body and bride, part of God’s family. Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ (the 2nd being in the Trinity) did not call His people to go to church; He invited people into the kingdom of God. As True Life Christians, we must understand that once you accept Christ into your life, the Holy Spirit (the 3rd being in the Trinity) takes up residence inside your soul, and everything has an effect whether good or bad. What you physically put into your body has an incredible effect on the spiritual soul, yet you can’t focus on the body to much lest it become a idol (fixing the temple up ignoring the spiritual soul when God is trying to get your attention).
However, that is not the intention for what I want to comment on. It’s to say that hypocrisy is a given in the church. In fact, it has been in existence from the time of the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul (2 Peter 2:1; Acts 25:7). What I want to point to is that the kingdom is crossing the paths of unbelievers everyday. As True Life Christians, we have access to the kingdom, and it is for us to share it with unbelievers like through community groups or take a leading role in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous or a bowling league, or some skydiving club, or some fishing club you belong to, etc. and share Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).
~ Darren L. Beattie, The Soul Blogger ~